Addiction Prevention Resources

Disclaimer: The information contained on this website is not intended to be a substitute for, or to be relied upon, as medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We do not vet specific care providers and are not directing any individuals to specific treatment modalities or treatment providers.

Addiction IS a Jewish Problem

Addictive behaviors and the abuse of substances are a growing concern in society.

Addiction recovery and the related mental health challenges are complex issues with many intertwined elements. Substance abuse and the opioid epidemic grabs the headlines; but issues of stigma, isolation for those fighting addiction (and their support networks), anxiety and depression, and other issues that often lead to addiction also challenge the Jewish community.

“Judaism as a Program for Living Well” is an emerging initiative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. It will generate a broader response to challenges of addiction and mental health recovery in our Jewish community. It is an effort to nurture a caring and inclusive community through the Federation’s role of convener, thought leader and catalyst for collaboration.

We are working to:

  • Extend the community conversations about addiction, recovery, and the co-occurring mental health challenges faced by a growing number of individuals in our community;
  • Recruit more clergy, educators, and others in the helping professions to change the culture and level of awareness within the Jewish community to:
    • Reduce stigma,
    • Lower barriers to inclusion,
    • Encourage individuals to seek support
    • Nurture a healthier environment within our families and communal organizations, using Jewish rituals as tools to encourage wellness

Helplines and Hotlines

Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK (8255)
TTY: 1-800-799-4889
24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Your call is routed to the nearest crisis center in the national network of more than 150 crisis centers.

SAMHSA‘s (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration) National Helpline
1-800-662-HELP (4357)
TTY: 1-800-487-4889
Also known as, the Treatment Referral Routing Service, this Helpline provides 24-hour free and confidential treatment referral and information about mental and/or substance use disorders, prevention, and recovery in English and Spanish.

National Drug Helpline

Alcohol & Drug Helpline

Al-Anon for Families of Alcoholics

Treatment Programs

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) collects information on thousands of state-licensed providers who specialize in treating substance use disorders, addiction, and mental illness.

Find a Treatment Program

Addiction prevention and support services in our community

Addictive behaviors and the abuse of substances are a growing concern in society. The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington seeks to be an inclusive and caring community. We are working to:

  • Educate ourselves about the challenges we and our neighbors face
  • Remove stigma that may prevent individuals from seeking help and support
  • Build awareness within our community institutions about creating a safe, healthy space for people and programs
  • Strengthen the infrastructure of treatment and prevention programs appropriate to each individual’s situation

In order to achieve these goals, Federation is implementing the following initiatives to bring greater access to Addiction Prevention resources to members of the Greater Washington community:

  • Addiction prevention resources are in the process of being added to the Jconnect community website to provide easily accessible information for families and friends who need it.
  • Community Trainings and workshops will provide professionals working in the Jewish community with the tools needed to support and help the addiction community.
  • Federation’s series of holiday guides are being edited, reprinted and reposted online using new inclusive language that is sensitive to people with addiction issues.

5 Myths about Drug Abuse and Addiction

MYTH 1: “Overcoming addiction is simply a matter of willpower. You can stop using drugs if you really want to.” Prolonged exposure to drugs alters the brain in ways that result in powerful cravings and a compulsion to use. These brain changes make it extremely difficult to quit by sheer force of will.

MYTH 2: “Addiction is a disease; there’s nothing you can do about it.” Most experts agree that addiction is a brain disease, but that doesn’t mean you’re a helpless victim. The brain changes associated with addiction can be treated and reversed through therapy, medication, exercise, and other treatments.

MYTH 3: “Addicts have to hit rock bottom before they can get better.” Recovery can begin at any point in the addiction process—and the earlier, the better. The longer drug abuse continues, the stronger the addiction becomes and the harder it is to treat. Don’t wait to intervene until the addict has lost it all.

MYTH 4: “You can’t force someone into treatment; they have to want help.” Treatment doesn’t have to be voluntary to be successful. People who are pressured into treatment by their family, employer or the legal system are just as likely to benefit as those who choose to enter treatment on their own. As they sober up and their thinking clears, many formerly resistant addicts decide they want to change.

MYTH 5: “Treatment didn’t work before, so there’s no point trying again.” Recovery from drug addiction is a long process that often involves setbacks. Relapse is common, doesn’t mean that treatment has failed or that you’re a lost cause. Rather, it’s a signal to get back on track, either by going back to treatment or adjusting the treatment approach.


Online Resources

In the News

Video Resources

Print Resources

  • God of Our Understanding: Jewish Spirituality and Recovery from Addiction Paperback – Aug 2 2010, by Shais Taub
  • Twelve Jewish Steps to Recovery, 2nd Ed.: A Personal Guide to Turning from Alcoholism and Other Addictions – Drugs, Food, Gambling, Sex… Paperback – Oct 1 2009, by Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky, MD, Stuart A. Copans
  • Addictive Thinking: Understanding Self-Deception Paperback – Apr 30 1997, by Abraham J Twerski
  • The Spiritual Self: Reflections on Recovery and God Paperback – Mar 17 2000, by Abraham J Twerski
  • Recovery, the 12 Steps and Jewish Spirituality Paperback – Sep 30 2014, by Rabbi Paul Steinberg
  • Recovery – The Sacred Art: The Twelve Steps as Spiritual Practice Paperback – May 1 2009, by Rabbi Rami Shapiro
  • Not As Prescribed: Recognizing and Facing Alcohol and Drug Misuse in Older Adults Paperback – April 2016, by Harry Haroutunian, M.D.
    In this book, Dr. Haroutunian, physician director at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, provides you with the vital information needed to understand the dynamics of addiction in older adults. You’ll learn to:
    – Clearly distinguish between the signs of aging and the signs of addiction, many of which overlap
    – Identify the indications of drug misuse and its progression to addiction
    – Understand the unique treatment needs of older adults
    – Get the help you—as a caregiver or loved one—need to cope with your loved ones’ addiction